The opening weekend (15th April) fixtures are:, Benwell Hill v Tynemouth Chester le Street v Whitburn , Felling v Durham Academy , Hetton Lyons v South Shields , Newcastle v Eppleton, South Northumberland v Stockton
While the First Division fixtures are, Brandon v Boldon, Burnmoor v Blaydon, Gateshead Fell v Burnopfield , Sunderland v Mainsforth, Washington v Sacriston and Willington v Seaham Harbour.
We preview all clubs across both Premier Division and 1st Division to check out the in's and outs from all clubs.
Benwell Hill have brought in a number of new additions for this season. Craig Wallace and Gavin Main are two new signings. Wallace joins from Forfarshire Cricket Club having represented Scotland in seven ODI's. While Gavin Main joins from Washington who was their Durham player in last year’s outing, Main also having represented Scotland in T20 internationals. Mark Cawthorn (Blaydon), Adam Heather (South Northumberland) and Callum Martin (Aberdeenshire) are also new to Denton Bank with Haseeb Azam their oversees. Adam Hickey, Paul Van Meekeren and Ben Mussett have left the club.
Kyle Coetzer continues as captain and said: "We're confident in the group of players at our disposal and hope to be challenging in the top half of the table. We have attracted some good quality players to the club this year and expect our performances to improve as a result. As ever, a high priority will be to develop our junior players and give them essential experience of senior cricket."
Chester le Street
2017 Premier Division Champions Chester le Street, have brought in former Eppleton opening batsman Kyle Davis along with Adam Hickey as their Durham player. Richard Waite has departed after taking on the National Head Coach of the Hong Kong Women’s team while Cole Pearce has moved to newly promoted Burnopfield.
Durham Cricket Academy
Geoff Cook said: "2017 season brings another group of young players together from all parts of the North. As ever it is impossible to predict the outcome, but what is certain is that there will be heaps of opportunities for them at all levels as the club looks to rebuild."
Eppleton managed to remain in the Premier Division last season after being promoted in 2015 and have brought in five new players this winter. Joe Coyn has joined the Church Road side from Whitburn in addition to Tyler Easton who will take the gloves after signing from NYSD side Redcar. Luke Henderson (South Shields) and Alex Simpson (Darlington) both formally of Durham Cricket Academy are also welcomed to Church Road. 19-year-old South African Jandre Erasmus replaces Abhijal Mansingh (Washington) as this year's oversees. Kyle Davis, Gary Burlinson and Liam Dixon have all moved on.
John Smithson said: "Our aim to be competitive with the Premier League and improve our position in 2016. Having signed some very good young players we are trying to develop a side for the future"
After gaining promotion on the last day of the season over Sacriston, Felling have brought in two players for 2017. Joining last season's Division 1 champions are Craig Stephenson a spinner who joins from Seaham Harbour and Freddie Simon a Durham University player who previously played for Oxford CC in the Home Counties Premier League.
Paul Leonard has moved onto Boldon while Danny Clark has retired. The rest of the team remain as it was last season with the Gateshead side still hopeful of adding an overseas in the coming weeks but time will tell.
Anthony Trotter said: "We are aiming to establish ourselves in our first season in the Premier Division and hopeful of a mid table finish."
Jarvis Clay will once again lead a young team looking to better last season's 7th place finish. He will be looking to Jonny Malkin and Chris Martin to add runs, along with Matthew Whaley who has signed from Burnmoor alongside Josh Coughlin who has rejoined as our Durham contracted player. Josh will also add to the bowling attack which was lead by Ben Whitehead's 40 league wickets last season.
2016 Premier Division Runners up Newcastle have brought in Sam Roseby (Gateshead Fell) and Alasdair Appleby (Durham Cricket Academy) with Callum Steel formerly of Middlesex and now Durham CCC their Durham player. Graham Clark (Durham CCC) has joined up with Blaydon for this season after three years with Newcastle.
South North welcome back Adam Cragg as 1st XI captain after 18 months in Australia and new signing, Scottish international, Calum MacLeod.
Adam Heather, after 21 years at South North, has gone to Benwell Hill, Sam Dinning will be playing at Tynemouth and David Rutherford at Morpeth. James Miller will be playing infrequently because of new family and work commitments.
The 1st X1 are hoping to improve on last season's disappointing 4th position in the Premier Division whilst encouraging more talented Juniors to play senior cricket.
South North are hosting the Durham v Leicestershire Royal London One Day Cup match on Friday 5th May, hoping for great support as last year and a fine day.
South Shields have signed Durham Uni lads Cameron Rule, Alex Combe and Nabeel Aziz until the end of term in addition to welcoming back Left arm spinner Sam Taylor-Gell who returns after a season at Tudhoe. All-rounder Chris Dorothy also returns after previously playing at Sunderland.
Our overseas should be Salman Ahmed. We did have Darius DeSilva from WA but his WA u19 games block him from getting a sports visitor Visa. He hasn’t played any FC Cricket to allow him the opportunity to obtain a Tier 5. Salman will arrive for week 2 or 3 of the season.
We know this will be a tough campaign, especially losing Gordon and Tim’s runs. But once again we will fight tooth and nail top preserve our premier division status.
Stockton have brought in 4 players for this year's season in Hassan Raza (Yarm), Brett Roberts (Marske) and Gary Burgum (Norton). George Harding has also joined as Stockton's Durham player having previously played for Durham Academy. Young off spinner Haidar Shafiq has joined Durham Academy with Alan Worthy joining Burnmoor and James Anthony Ward joining Hartlepool.
Tynemouth bring in one addition to this year's team in Sam Dinning who has previously played at South North. After a winter playing in Australia scoring runs and taking 21 wickets we’re hopeful of a good season. We have retained Stuart Poynter as our Durham player although 1st team commitments are likely to restrict his involvement this year. Tahir Khan returns again for his 3rd season as overseas professional. Sam Robson and Richie Straughan have both relocated to London for work purposes.
Ben Debnam said: "We’re hopeful of another positive season with personnel largely staying the same we’d hope to maintain a push into the top half of the table."
Gary Burlinson joins from Eppleton along with James Thompson from Chester le Street. Daniel Shurben has now taken on the 1st team captaincy. Whitburn's Durham player of last season Jack Burnham has moved onto Washington.
Blaydon welcome Graham Clark to Denefield for this season having joined as their Durham player, Blaydon will be looking for his runs when available having scored 125 against a Kent/Essex 2XI side this week. Ross Burdon, Dean Henderson and Paul McCarthy Jnr are all new to Blaydon. Mark Cawthorn has joined Benwell Hill.
Boldon are confident of a strong showing this season. With the ground looking a picture we have strength in the shape of captain Chris Ellison, always good for runs at the top of the order and with professional Umar Waheeb on his way from Pakistan for a second season, it's to be hoped he can reproduce his batting form and indeed continue his progress as an off spinner.
An impressive trio of new players join the side. Ian Pattison from Seaham Harbour a classy batsman and medium pacer, Paul Leonard from Felling an excellent swing bowler and useful batsman and Durham and Ireland fast bowler Barry Mccarthy who plays depending on Durham commitments.
The second team are really looking forward to their move up a division having won promotion last season. Ritchie Martin's side with a mix of experience and youth look well able to do well. Indeed 2017 is looking good and the growing strength of the junior section is resulting in competition for places at all levels as they come through the ranks.
Brandon have signed former first-class cricketer Gordon Muchall who retired from Durham last season. Gordon has spent a number of years with Premier Division side South Shields. Moin Ashraf is with us again for 2017. We have also signed local Academy prospect, Adam Khan who was with Newcastle last year and Jordan Grosert and Stephen Parnaby return to action after a year away. Ryan Pringle continues as our County Countracted Player.
Ian Johnson said: “As always, we hope to be competitive and to be challenging for honours”.
Another fourth place in the First Division was a disappointing position for the Club. After a successful start to the season there followed a disappointing middle part when 3 matches were lost and 4 were drawn. Then there was a successful run in but the points difference with Felling and Sacriston was too much to claw back.
Sri Lankan Inshan Jayaratne will be joining Burnmoor as oversees player but will miss the first game of the season due to still awaiting his visa. With Allan Worthy (Stockton) and Liam Dixon (Eppleton) the newest additions to the team. Brydon Carse is also back as their Durham player having played for Burnmoor previously in the Durham Cricket League.
Burnopfield begin there first season in the Dukes North East Premier League after gaining promotion from the Durham Cricket League last season. Former Durham cricketer Gareth Breese continues at 1st team captain and have brought in Lee Whitfield (Blaydon/Swalwell) and Cole Pearce (Chester le Street) as wicketkeeper. Burnopfield also have Durham University leg-spin bowler Darrel Williams available until early summer.
"1st XI just don't know what to expect with a longer game and slight points change system. We hope to simply consolidate a place in the NEPL Division 1"
Everyone at GFCC is looking forward to the new season and, making amends for what was a frustrating 2016. We are looking forward to visiting some new grounds and becoming reacquainted with others we haven't visited for several years. Above all we're looking forward to testing ourselves against a very strong standard in NEPL Division 1.Graham Onions will base been retained as our Durham player.
2017 sees a number of changes at Mainsforth Cricket Club with Jonathon Barnes, Matthew Brown, Gary Cummings and Andrew Allan all retiring from the game. However we welcome two former players in Tom Orton a lower order batsman and medium pace bowler in addition to teenage batsman Ryan Dawson. Mainsforth also welcome South African youngster Anton Muller a promising all rounder who will take on the overseas role however won't arrive until the opening day of the season. Robert Chismon has also been appointed as the new 1st team captain for this season.
"Although we were happy with our performance in finishing mid table in our inaugural season we know we may struggle to match this in the coming season as replacing the four retiring players is almost impossible but we live in hope"
Sacriston remain unchanged for the 2017 season with Martin Hubber taking over the captaincy from Ian Jones. We will hope to be able to call upon the services of Chris Rushworth and Will Gidman as their county commitments allow. We are hopeful of challenging for the title once again although appreciate a number of clubs have strengthened considerably.
Following Ian Pattison’s move to Boldon, Michael Nunn has taken on the 1st team captain position at Seaham Harbour. Alongside Ian Pattison’s move, Dale Shaw (Seaham Park) and Craig Stephenson (Felling) have also moved clubs. We have brought in Matthew Aitken from Murton and Greg Davison from Sunderland. In addition we also welcome Tim Niemand as our oversees from Randburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
“We hope to compete throughout the season and hope to progress in a couple of cup competitions.”
Sunderland make only one change ahead of the 2017 season with former professional Kammy Shah not making a return and therefore the Ashbrook side welcome Quinton Boatswain, a current member of the West Indies Development squad who is a Right-hand bat from Leeward Islands, Montserrat as their oversees player.
"Hopes are of a top 3 finish with a push for promotion- but that was what we targeted last year and finished around 4th bottom in a competitive league where results were often difficult to predict, and we were hampered by a slow start"
2017 will another year of transition for Washington CC. Trent Mais will a big loss following his return to his native Australia. New players joining the Club include Abhijal Mansingh (Eppleton CC) as our oversees player, Ben Mussett (Benwell Hill) and Colin Myers (Newton Aycliffe). Ash Thorpe will continue as First Team Captain, whilst also taking on the additional role as Director of Cricket. Jason Jones will captain the Second Team. We are determined to improve on our 2016 performance & are hopeful that our squad will provide a strong challenge in the season ahead.
The club looks forward to the new season with renewed vigour and welcomes its new professional Reagan Klemt from Australia. Other new players include Jason Marshall and Joe Cooke both of which will strengthen the 1st team to enable us to hopefully make an excited push for promotion.
The 1st team continued to be well captained by James Stock with Steven Bradwell continuing as the 2nds captain. Let's hope for a great summer full of exciting cricket.